Who Do You Think Should Be UNC System President?

The UNC System Board of Governors is seeking suggestions and nominations as it searches for a successor to Erskine Bowles ’67 as the next president of the UNC System.

Bowles announced in February that he plans to retire. Bowles, who will turn 65 on Aug. 8, told the UNC System Board of Governors that he would continue to serve through the end of 2010 or until a successor is found.

Less than a week after his announcement, Bowles was tapped by the Obama administration to help lead a new National Commission of Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

“We are intent upon finding the very best candidates in the nation, and we welcome your suggestions and nominations for this critically important leadership role,” BOG Chair Hannah Gage ’75 said in a letter to alumni and friends of the UNC System, which includes all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees as well as the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.

The BOG has hired Bill Funk of R. William Funk & Associates to assist in the recruitment and selection process. The Dallas-based firm specializes in conducting searches at the senior leadership level for major universities and university systems. Funk was involved in the search process that led to Holden Thorp ’86 being named as Carolina’s 10th chancellor in 2008.

“The next president must be an experienced and visionary leader who understands and appreciates the unique relationship the university shares with the state and its citizens,” Gage said. “More than ever before, North Carolina’s economic future will depend on the teaching, research and public service our UNC campuses provide, so the importance of this presidential search cannot be overstated.”

The UNC System has a total budget of $7.4 billion, enrolls more than 220,000 students and employs more than 47,000 faculty and staff.

The BOG invites input about the personal characteristics, type of prior experience and skill sets needed for the next president as well as feedback on the greatest challenges and opportunities facing the UNC System.

Bowles is the sixth president to lead the consolidated UNC System — only the fourth under its present structure, following Molly Corbett Broad (1997-2005), C.D. Spangler ’54 (1986-97) and William C. Friday ’48 (LLB) (1957-72 under the consolidated UNC System and 1972-86 under current structure).

For more about the search process and to provide feedback or make a nomination, visit the UNC System online.

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